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Alice Springs boneyard nears new capacity

written by Adam Thorn | September 29, 2020

The Alice Springs boneyard appears to be almost reaching its new expanded capacity of 100 aircraft after the Northern Territory government invested $3.5 million into the site in July.

The dramatic shot by Twitter user Megan Dingwall shows planes stored by airlines including Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Scoot and HK Express.

Australian Aviation previously reported how the NT government made the investment, which included building new roads to ensure the facility’s capacity could be quickly doubled, to help create 55 local jobs.

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Tom Vincent, who owns the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) maintenance facility, previously told the ABC that parking spaces were “definitely in demand”.

“As soon as extra spots for storage come online, there are aircraft filling those spots,” Vincent said.

In July, the facility was storing 44 aircraft and had already received a $1 million infrastructure grant.

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This new investment package doubled its workforce and is predicted to inject more than $10 million dollars, directly and indirectly, into the state’s economy.

Before the pandemic, APAS was home to just 18 aircraft at any one time.

Like many so-called boneyards, APAS is chosen by airlines because its low precipitation and hot weather reduce rust, while staff are on-hand to carry out the 100-plus maintenance tasks per year required to keep aircraft operational.

“It’s a pretty complex job, huge volume of work and it keeps our engineers busy,” Vincent said. “We have nearly 50 employees here full-time maintaining the aircraft, ensuring they are in a condition so they can be returned to service.”

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner called APAS a “complete gamechanger” for the industry that had worked “extremely well in America”.

“Storing aircraft is not just a coronavirus issue but obviously more planes are grounded than flying so there is a unique opportunity here,” Chief Minister Gunner told NT News. “Once it’s proved, I think a lot of people will use the facility beyond coronavirus.”

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12 Comments

  • Michael

    says:

    And our “national” airline Qantas keeps its planes where? – of course in America !!! Well done Qantas !! Buy Australian ???

  • Richard

    says:

    Seems strange to see all the Asian aircraft stored here in Alice Springs, while the Australian airline chooses to store aircraft in USA.

  • Jack Doff

    says:

    Why are qantas storing their aircraft overseas when we have a facility here?
    And at the same time laying off staff?

    • josh

      says:

      probally cause they are already losing alot of money, and it would be to expensive too transport and get the aircraft up-to date and in the air from america and transport them to australia

  • Craigy

    says:

    The biggest reason for Qantas storing aircraft in the US is that they already have engineering staff and facilities in Los Angeles to look after the aircraft in Victorville and in LA. That way they keep their own engineering staff employed.

  • Adrian P

    says:

    There are at least 36 Australian airliners at Avalon.
    A mix of QANTAS, Jet star and Virgin.

  • Peter

    says:

    Plenty of Qantas planes parked up at Mascot.

  • Gordon Thomas

    says:

    I would refer to the Alice Springs storage facility as a storage facility not a boneyard.

  • Vannus

    says:

    To Michael, Richard, & Jack Doff….all above…..

    QANTAS stores their aircraft where Engineering facilities’ exist, manned by their own licensed Engineers.
    This maybe in Australia, or other locations’ overseas.

    There are NO engineering facilities’ in ASP storage area.
    This is already FULL, to capacity.
    CX & SQ rented parking bays’ months’ ago.

    So folk, before you make erroneous, derogatory comments’ about QANTAS actions’, do a bit of research firstly.
    You might ‘save face’ in doing so.

    • Mark

      says:

      You are totally wrong old Mate …. and over 75 Engineers provide full engineering to these aircraft and have done since they arrived in small numbers originally but as of last week 18th May 2021, 145 aircraft based there employed by Asia Pacific Airline Storage (APAS) and very lucrative for the NT Government who invested in this project

  • We will be storing a lot of aircraft at Toowoomba Wellcamp. This will keep Brisbane based Engineers either in staff, or available for third-party maintainers. This process to store aircraft is slower than can be appreciated. The infrastructure in Alice already existed, as overseas. Australia WILL see a resurgence in Australian based business and employment. Good people have Australian jobs at heart.

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